Florida gets serious about false alarms

State police chiefs first in nation to form statewide model alarm ordinance
Friday, June 1, 2007

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.--Florida cities looking to adopt an alarm ordinance now have a Model Alarm Ordinance, a short, concise, "user-friendly document," to help them out, said Glen Mowry, national law enforcement liaison for the Security Industry Alarm Coalition.
The document, adopted in April, is the nation's first model alarm ordinance developed by a state police chiefs association, Mowry said.
Mowry, himself a retired deputy police chief from North Carolina, started working with SIAC three years ago on an initiative to help form alarm management committees, which are "made up of three police officers in the association and three alarm industry people who are active in their association," Mowry said. "I serve as the facilitator." The ordinance-making "process followed the principles of community policing work, which include working with the stakeholders," Mowry explained.
Amy Mercer, executive director of the Florida Police Chiefs Association, said, "We were approached by Glen Mowry and Bob Neely [executive director of the Alarm Association of Florida] and the [Florida Police Chiefs Association] board of directors decided to form alarm management committee because it is such an issue with personnel responding to false alarms."
"We worked for a year on the ordinance and ... we really hope the ordinance will help reduce the impact [of false alarms] on law enforcement resources in the state of Florida," Mercer said.
The ordinance includes: registration of alarm systems; an escalating fine structure for alarm users who allow for repeat false dispatches; a system to accept the cancellation of alarms after accidental activations; no police response for alarm users who fail to pay fines/permit fees; use of equipment that meets new quality standards which help prevent false activations; Enhanced Call Verification; and community-based alarm awareness classes.
Bob Neely of the Florida Alarm Association said the credit belongs to the individuals who worked on the committee.
"When they approached us, we were enthused to join with [SIAC], and the Florida Police Chiefs association has been stellar to deal with," he said.